Universities and experts meet to advance higher education transformation


NOKWANDA NCWANE

Pretoria – Vice-chancellors of public universities met this week with experts and other stakeholders in a two-day symposium to advance the transformation of higher education.

The aim was to revive the role of African languages ​​in the basic functions of the South African university system.

The symposium on the new language policy framework for public higher education, held at the University of Stellenbosch, was to consider ways to implement the new language policy for higher education published in October of l ‘last year.

Speakers included retired South African Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs and the Vice Chancellors of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Free State and Rhodes University.

Unisa spokesperson Professor Ahmed Bawa said the dialogue aimed to understand the implications of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s language policy framework on teaching, learning, research and university administration.

He was also looking to understand what innovative work was underway in South African universities.

Bawa said this would ultimately help improve the quality of teaching and learning, research, and expand access and success.

“The challenge is to put in place the infrastructure and resources to carry out these important initiatives. The challenge is to effectively integrate African languages ​​much more into the core functions of our universities, ”he said.

Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor and Director of Rhodes University and Chairman of the South African Universities Teaching and Learning Strategy Group, said that by integrating African languages ​​into teaching and learning, universities will advance transformation beyond granting access to and diversifying South Africa’s higher education. educational system.

He added that by offering the curriculum in the students’ native language, the universities will support them more significantly and improve their success.

Mabizela said African languages ​​have historically been denigrated for political purposes.

“We must take language policy out of the periphery it occupies within our institutions and place it at the center of the strategic vision of rectors. This is essential to recognize the diversity of our students in our institutions.

“For many, English is not a mother tongue. We need to start explaining the concepts in mediums other than English as the predominant language.

“We must also instill a sense of pride in our own languages ​​and convey a message to our children about the importance of English, but raise all other languages ​​to the same level as important means of communication for our thoughts and ideas. . Our people should take pleasure in seeing their language respected. Language also builds a nation.

News from Pretoria


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